Providing protection for abandoned migrants in NZ

Support the most vulnerable members of NZ society today


A word we take for granted.

Every year, hundreds of desperate asylum seekers reach New Zealand fighting for safety from persecution, torture or death in their own countries. These people are not protected by any system while they seek protection, and are often the most persecuted and bullied members of New Zealand’s society by law enforcement and government agents. Asylum seekers are not supported by the New Zealand government until they can prove their case, which can take from 3 months to 15 years depending on the complexity of the case.

Imagine not being safe for 15 years. Imagine not having a home, the ability to work or feed yourself and yet, with nowhere else to go. It is not simply a case of being able to go home, these people no longer have one that is “safe”. They need protection in New Zealand. 

Asylum seekers need roofs over their heads and sustenance while they wait out the long process of proving their right to be recognised as Convention Refugees by the Justice Division of the NZ Government, and therefore eligible for official government support to seek a long term plan.

That’s where we come in. 

We believe every person deserves the right to safety work and access to essential services during the asylum process here in NZ. We’re not talking about luxury, we’re talking about basic, sleep soundly at night, safely. That is why we are seeking donations to acquire dwellings and means of support specifically for asylum seekers every year.

Who We Are

Safe Haven Housing is a Registered Charitable Trust with donee status, governed by Kiwi people with decades of experience in this field and with international connections to support the protection of our clients. Bryan Johnson and his team of trustees manage the organisation, while our dedicated volunteers are lead by Matua Sam Chapman of Turangi in the traditional indigenous values of Manaakitanga, Kotahitanga, Awhi and Aroha (hospitality, solidarity, nurturing and love). Safe Haven Housing is a compassionate solution to provide advocacy, reliable housing, food and security to asylum seekers while they focus on presenting their cases to Immigration Authorities.
Our trust includes offering accommodation and sustenance services, at no cost, including legal assistance, medical help, ophthalmology and mental health support. We can also provide assistance with TESOL, driver’s licenses, job-seekers training, residency and work visas.
Our services can assist with refoulement cases/deportation prevention and provide mental health support for those struggling as victims of torture or abuse.
Charity Registration Number: CC57293 NZ Business Number: 9429047977914.
Donations receipts qualify in NZ for a 33% tax refund up to the amount of the donors taxable income. This charity complies with the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009.

Read real stories of struggling asylum seekers

To protect identity, the photos are typical of the people we serve. 

Comments of asylum seekers and failed migrants at Safe Haven House.

B from Arabia

Was refused an asylum case in NZ and went to the USA for safety but faced many problems in his first year there. In his home nation, he was nearly beheaded. He was tortured by his family and totally renounced and rejected.

M from Iran

Was declined and friends supported him with free accommodation until he returned to Iran and faced lots of life threatening difficulties.

X from West Asia

He had many appeals and all were unsuccessful so he resorted to sharing a room with others and many sad things happened along the way. He was eventually deported.

E from Africa

After he was declined he had to move out of the refugee hostel and a friend gave him a place to stay and he tries to find volunteer work when he can? Life is not easy. 

P from India

After his first appeal was declined, he was not issued a work visa anymore, and had to live rough and do illegal work to survive.

D from Sri-Lanka

He gassed himself in his car after sleeping rough on the side of the street – he appealed his case several times but failed each one because of discrepancies in his story.

Why asylum seekers are the most vulnerable people in NZ

Asylum seekers are in such a perilous situation because they often have no identity documents, which means they are not afforded the same rights as those who can prove who they are. At a basic traffic stop, a stateless person could be arrested on the spot, held overnight in a cell and then transferred to Mt Eden Correctional Facility indefinitely – simply because our system does not know how to correctly or fairly deal with stateless people. By default, a stateless person in need of help is assumed to be an illegal immigrant, due to their lack of paperwork. This sets in motion the immediate plan to have them forcibly removed from Aotearoa. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Since 2019, Safe Haven has been raising funds for suitable, safe housing in Mangere, Auckland, as a dedicated place for asylum seekers in NZ. We are launching a two million dollar fundraising campaign in order to reach the target and purchase two dwellings in Mangere and shelter more vulnerable people who otherwise have nowhere to go. We need funding for operating costs, water, electricity, rates, gas, food, transport, honoraria for support workers.

With a sudden and huge influx of yearly asylum seekers entering New Zealand, current providers of safe houses can no longer keep up with demand. Immigration NZ has a difficult system to navigate for those fleeing for their lives, making it unviable for many people to stay safe while attempting to claim refugee status. There is no payable emergency benefit available until a work visa is issued, which can not be applied for without the asylum seeker obtaining police and medical certificates from their country of origin. This slows down the process drastically and creates serious hardship for the asylum seekers who can not earn a living to support themselves until a work visa is granted. If the asylum seeker’s bid to gain asylum at the RSB or IPT fails, they once again are dropped into a situation where they can receive no emergency benefit or a work visa to earn their own money. Once their bid has failed, they then have to succeed in an Appeal or Judicial Review in The High Court against their failed application. 

This process alone can take from eight months to two years, with no financial support to keep them going during this impossible time. 

The small amount of money they fled their country with will quickly run out, as will their options. Safe Haven houses are essential to offer security to stateless people who have nothing to live on, or a place to live while they fight to secure their asylum status and right to work here in New Zealand.

Our Trustees

Matua Haami Sam Chapman

Matua Haami Sam Chapman


Bryan Johnson

M.Phil, A.C.A. A.H.K.S.A

Kay Hyland

B Com

Dr Clark Hyland

Ph.D. B E Mech Eng, B Com 

Mark Tobias

M.A. Theol. 

Roger Woodward

M. A., Diploma of Teaching,


Our Community Workers

Chris Zhiyan

Peter Lomodo


Support us and change the course of an asylum seekers life today!

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For more information, or to get in touch with our team, please contact us below.